Bipolar Disorder and Work
2013 Bipolar Update
Looking At Bipolar Disorder and Work
Two things that do not go well together are bipolar disorder and work. Considering that a bipolar disorder can drastically affect one’s behavior, being in a challenging work environment where unwavering focus and attention is necessary is definitely not an easy place to be for people with a bipolar disorder. Still, it does not mean that bipolar persons can no longer work. In the succeeding paragraphs, we will discuss things that can help make bipolar disorder and work coexist in a successful manner.
The first and perhaps most important factor when it comes to bipolar disorder and work has to do with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” concept. It can be a massive dilemma to determine whether you should be open and honest about having bipolar disorder. Consequently, there is still a very big stigma with regard to bipolar disorder and work tasks so you will need to assess if your boss needs to know this or not.
Beyond this, there are other things to think about to make the transition to bipolar disorder and work as seamless as possible:
· Pick a job with a regular and predictable work schedule. At the very least, this will give you a better chance to sync your work routines with any bipolar disorder cycles you may be having.
· Wherever possible, do not pick a job that requires you to handle very sensitive tasks such as operating heavy machinery. You are putting your life and other people’s lives at risk by being in his position. Instead, try to pick a line of work that is mellower than most. While this may be an assault against your better work skills, you can be confident that it will allow you to keep a job longer than you would if you had an episode in the middle of a very critical task.
· Never skip your medications and always be on the lookout for symptoms of a major mood swing. Whenever you feel that you are heading towards a potential outbreak, remember what your doctor has taught you in the way of controlling yourself so an episode does not spill over into work-related tasks. Whenever possible, take a leave or go home early to rest and recover.
At some point, you may need to evaluate if your bipolar disorder and work you are doing really go together in your specific case. While work carries a lot of benefits, such as the chance to go out and interact with other people, stave off boredom, put your skills to good use, earn extra income to help with your medical expenses, and mental alertness, the wrong job can also give you unnecessary panic that could possibly worsen the condition.
You alone can tell whether you are ready for the challenge of juggling both your bipolar disorder and work at the same time. If you are not yet in a frame of mind and a cycle that allows you to regularly deal with other people in a professional setting, you should prioritize rest and recovery until you are ready to hold down a job. Conversely, you should not limit your options if you feel you are ready to go out and enter the work force. Be familiar with and stay in your own limitations, but don't use your disorder as an excuse not to work.
Bipolar disorder and work might not necessarily be best of friends but it does not mean they cannot coexist together. Talk with your doctor about the best ways to go about working while still keeping your bipolar condition in check. Though it is not easy at times, there are many bipolar individuals holding down regular jobs so it can be done if you stay on your medication and follow your doctor's suggestions.